#Ferguson Rioters-Looters Win Injunction to Stop Cops From Using Tear Gas
A federal judge ruled Thursday that police in Ferguson can no longer use tear gas on protesters without declaring an illegal assembly.
They will need to declare an illegal assembly before they can toss the tear gas.
A federal judge ruled Thursday that police can no longer use tear gas on protesters without declaring an illegal assembly, giving them fair warning and time to vacate the area.
The temporary restraining order comes just weeks after the last rounds of heavy protest in Ferguson in response to a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown Jr. A group of protesters had filed the lawsuit asking for a restriction on police use of tear gas and excessive force during demonstrations.
U.S. Federal Judge Carol Jackson heard testimony for nine hours, from plaintiffs as well as police from St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis, according to Brendan Roediger, one of the lead attorney’s on the case.
“Ultimately she decided there was substantial evidence that police had violated the constitutional rights of the protesters, that it was a restriction on their free speech,” Roediger told msnbc shortly after the judge made her ruling.
“The best thing the judge said and she said it a couple of times, was that ‘it’s clear to me for some reason the police are treating this group, around this movement, differently than they treat other large crowds,” Roediger said. “Hopefully it’ll put an end to the practice of protesters having no idea what the police response will be. No more of this sort of punishment in the streets where what the police are going to do is unpredictable and often violent,” he said.
The plaintiffs, who include a diverse group of protesters, a business owner and a legal observer, said in their suit that tear gas was used as punishment against citizens simply exercising their First Amendment rights. The group also claimed they were gassed without warning and without the opportunity or means to comply with police orders to leave the area before the tear gas was sprayed.